A friend of mine recently posed an interesting question:
Over the years the question of gun ownership by Christians comes up. I hear many sincere believers make the following statement “A real Christian wouldn’t own a gun. They would trust God to protect them”.
Does owning a firearm for protection or defense mean I don’t trust God to protect me or mean I am in sin?
If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed. A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft. Exodus 22:2-3
It’s certainly better if the person who meant to cause you harm were to live, recognize the error of their ways, repent, and be reconciled both to you and to society. However, I think the above passage in Exodus makes it fairly plain that we are permitted to defend ourselves if our lives or the lives of those we love are in imminent danger.
As for why Jesus told Peter to sell his cloak and buy a sword in Luke 22:35-38.. backtracking to verse 31 we see that Jesus warned Peter against Satan’s desire to “sift you as wheat”. Going back again to verse 29 we see that Jesus commissioned his disciples as stewards of his kingdom (which is not of this world per John 18:36) which leads me to believe that Jesus’s statement to Peter about buying a sword has to do with the defense of the kingdom he was recently put in charge of.
So Peter was (and, by extension us as well as citizens of this kingdom), in essence, put in charge of guarding God’s house much in the same way we are told to be on guard against anyone who would break in and steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
Are Christians permitted to own firearms and use them in self-defense? Absolutely! Not only are we permitted to use them in self-defense but we’ve been given weapons that are not of this world (2 Corinthians 10:4) which are more potent than any firearm for the express purpose of waging war on satan and his army.